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IL-4 induces characteristic Th2 responses even in the combined absence of IL-5, IL-9, and IL-13.

Functional redundancy is highly prevalent among the Th2 interleukins (IL)-4, IL-5, IL-9, and IL-13. To define the critical functions of these cytokines, we have generated a novel panel of compound Th2 cytokine-deficient mice (from single to quadruple cytokine knockouts). We find that these Th2 cytokines are not essential for fetal survival even during allogeneic pregnancy. Using intestinal parasite infection and a pulmonary granuloma model, we demonstrate cryptic roles for IL-4, IL-5, IL-9, and IL-13 in these responses. Significantly, although IL-5, IL-9, and IL-13 add to the speed and magnitude of the response, a threshold is reached at which IL-4 alone can activate all Th2 effector functions. These mice reveal distinct spatial, temporal, and hierarchical cytokine requirements in immune function.

Pubmed ID: 12150887


  • Fallon PG
  • Jolin HE
  • Smith P
  • Emson CL
  • Townsend MJ
  • Fallon R
  • Smith P
  • McKenzie AN



Publication Data

July 1, 2002

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Eosinophilia
  • Female
  • Goblet Cells
  • Granuloma, Respiratory Tract
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interleukin-5
  • Interleukin-9
  • Kinetics
  • Mastocytosis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nippostrongylus
  • Pregnancy
  • Strongylida Infections
  • Survival Analysis
  • Th2 Cells